Wedding Terms to Know: Reception Tables

Black and gold place setting for a wedding reception table at 10 South.

There’s a lot that goes into planning a wedding, especially when it comes to your wedding reception. Whether you’re keeping it simple, or going all out, here are a few important terms to know before meeting with your vendors to discuss your reception tables.

Charger Plate
A charger plate, also known simply as a “charger,” is a large, decorative plate that’s placed under other dinnerware on the table. Guests never eat off this plate – it’s used purely for aesthetic purposes and elevates the look of your place settings.

The fancy term for utensils – forks, knives, spoons, etc. Flatware for weddings can range from basic to elevated designs. Some couples choose to keep costs down with a simple fork and knife set provided by their caterer, while others go all out by renting a full set of flatware ( forks, knives, spoons, etc.).

Place Setting
This is simply a complete set of dinnerware and flatware provided for each guest at your wedding reception.

A centerpiece is a decorative piece for display in the middle of a reception table. Centerpieces can be a variety of things – beautiful floral arrangements, elegant candles, or even a small cake for each table’s guests to cut into after dinner!

If you’re going for an elevated look, you may hear your vendors use the term “tablescape,” which is the artistic arrangement of decor on your reception tables. This includes dinnerware, centerpieces, table numbers, place cards, and any other décor item that’s set on the table ahead of your guests’ arrival.

Head Table
Your head table is where you and your wedding party will sit during your reception. Traditionally, the head table is a long table situated at a prominent place in the room, with seating on one side – the couple sits in the middle with their attendants on either side. Modern variations include seating on both sides of the table, or even a king’s table layout, with the couple seated at the head of the table (narrow end) and their attendants along each side.

Sweetheart Table
Today, many couples opt for a more intimate dining option – a sweetheart table. Similar to a head table, a sweetheart table is situated at a prominent place in the room, but only seats the couple. In most cases, the rest of the wedding party sits at long tables on either side of the sweetheart table, or amongst guests at other reception tables.

Want to learn more wedding terminology? Click here to check out our post about dinner styles!

Photo by Amanda Ketterhagen Photography

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